Bowl of pho
The Umami-Rich Secret Ingredient To Upgrade Any Bowl Of Pho
Elevate classic pho by adding dried sá sùng, also known as "peanut worms.” These sea-faring worms are used in northern Vietnam to provide an umami boost to pho.
Adding dried sá sùng to the broth creates a savory taste, similar to the effect of MSG. Due to the intense process of getting sá sùng, two ounces of it cost about $43.
Author of "The Pho Cookbook," Andrea Nguyen, recommends roasting about ½ ounce of the worms in a pan "until you can smell the worm's fragrance, they puff up a bit, and darken."
Then toss them into the broth, but if you don’t have sá sùngm, dried scallops are similar. While it may sound odd at first, insects are nutritious and enjoyed in various cultures.
If you're curious about incorporating insects into your diet, upgrading your pho with some sá sùng may be a great place to start.